From Kashmir To The US, The Story Of The Valley’s First Woman Wheelchair Basketball Player

Written by , Beauty & Lifestyle Enthusiast Chaitra Krishnan Beauty & Lifestyle Enthusiast Experience: 5 years

We all have dreams, don’t we? We probably started dreaming about our future goals even before we could really understand the meaning of those dreams. If you try to recollect, there would have been many Miss India and Police Officers among your classmates back in kindergarten. But, as we grow up and life happens, we leave behind the dreams of that 5-year old child somewhere in the track of time. We start building new dreams as we grow into a new person from our life experiences. And these dreams are close to our hearts. However, not everyone has the grit to work towards these dreams no matter what. And even if we have everything that we need, we fail to invest in our own dreams. But there are people like Inshah Bashir who stand out of the crowd and prove that our dreams are worth fighting for.

Inshah Bashir is Kashmir’s first female wheelchair basketball player who competed at the national level in 2017. She has pushed past the grief of the tragic incident that left her wheel-chair bound and now she’s all set to attend the Sports Visitor Programme 2019 to represent India. Want to know more about Inshah? Let’s read through the fiercely inspiring story of this brave heart.

The Life-changing Tragedy

Image: Instagram @richaaniruddha

Inshah Bashir was only 15 when she met with an accident that changed her life forever. She suffered serious injuries to the spinal cord after falling from the third floor of her house that was under construction back then. This happened in the district Budgam, Jammu and Kashmir where the medical facilities failed to help Inshah walk again. Even if the doctors told that her condition will get better with time, lack of facilities and proper medical guidance cemented her injuries permanent.

Since we’ve all lived the life of a 15-year-old teenager, we can imagine how much Inshah lost that day. “Telling a girl, who is merely 15, that she cannot walk for life, is very difficult. When my family informed me about it, I was devastated. I had so many professional and personal aspirations that came crumbling down within seconds,” she says in an interview with an online media portal.

Inshah continued to prepare for medical entrance examinations despite the physical discomforts and challenges she faced. Sadly, she had to let go of that dream because her wheelchair didn’t help her travel up and down to the exam center which was located on a rocky plateau. However, with the strong support of her parents, Inshah completed her graduation in Humanities and also holds a B.Ed. (Bachelor of Education) degree.

The Emotional Struggles

Image: Instagram @inshahbashir_official

Even after having the right qualification, finding a decent job became an impossible task for Inshah for being a differently-abled person. At the same time, taunts from family members and other people around pushed her over the edge. “I was not only dependent on my family physically but also financially. One of my relatives even told me that I should have died in the accident. Every door was shut for me, and I slipped into depression,” she recalled.

Her father was her strongest pillar of support throughout this rough phase. But even that helping hand was snatched away from Inshah when her father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. But that was when she decided that she has had it enough. When you feel that you’ve hit the rock bottom and can’t go down any further, it gives you the strength to climb up because that’s the only way there is. This is exactly what happened in Inshah’s case as well. “My dad’s deteriorating health pushed me to take charge of my life. And so, I began researching my condition and what I could do about it. I came across the Shafqat Rehabilitation Center in Srinagar that gave six months of physiotherapy,” she said.

The Climb Towards Success

Image: Twitter

It was during her physiotherapy classes that Inshah met the wheelchair basketball team of men. She realized that she was in much better shape than them and the sports enthusiast felt that if they can do it, she could do it too. She requested to join their team and was trained rigorously for months. However, she was truly happy for the first time after months. I felt at peace the first time I put the basketball in the net, and all my negative thoughts disappeared. Every time I dribble the ball, I feel alive,” she said.

Inshah traveled to Hyderabad and got qualified for the National team since there was no team in Jammu and Kashmir for wheel-chair bound women. This was one of the most cherished moments of her life. Today, she completed more than a year living in Delhi, on her own. Apart from being a basketball player, Inshah is also a teacher at the Amar Jyoti School.

From having come from a challenging background, Inshah makes sure that she helps other girls who are struggling with the same problems. She trains girls who are facing emotional troubles during camps at rehab centers in Kashmir, thereby lifting others as she grows. Isn’t that what a true hero does? We wish Inshah all the best for her future and hope that she continues to inspire every man, woman, and child who has ever had a dream.

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